Despite scares, Nationals dodge injuries to Ian Desmond, Kurt Suzuki

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Davey Johnson watched as a double-play ball ended the threat of his Washington Nationals tying the game in the eighth inning Wednesday night and his eyes focused on Ian Desmond, who was trying to beat out the throw to first.

The All-Star shortstop would’ve gotten out of the double play under normal circumstances, but he slowed before the bag and appeared to be in pain after the final out was recorded.

“Desi, he scared me to death,” Johnson said. “I forgot about the game when I saw him.”

Desmond shook off trainers and stayed in the game, saying afterward he thought he might have hyperextended his right knee.

“I think it was just one of those things, I was running down the line and felt something. My first reaction was to jump off of it before something bad happened,” Desmond said after the 5-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves. “Once that happened, I ran down the line, it felt fine and I was able to stay in the game. I could’ve done anything. I wouldn’t have taken myself out to hit. If my at-bat came up, I would’ve hit, no doubt. I think it just scared me more than anything. It was something kind of funky in there and I just went, ‘Whoa’ and jumped off it and made sure nothing really bad happened.”

Even with a six-game lead over the Braves in the National League East, the Nationals can ill afford to be without Desmond again. He just recently returned from a month-long absence with a strained oblique.

This time, Desmond didn’t even need an X-ray. But he was worried at the time.

“Anytime you feel something awkward in your body, obviously it’s at first a little startling,” Desmond said. “I was just kind of running and maybe tried to run too hard.”

A freak injury to catcher Kurt Suzuki earlier in the game provided another scare. He took a foul tip off his exposed right hand.

“I was really worried about Suzuki. He got it right between those two knuckles on the right hand,” Johnson said, pointing to the area between his ring and middle fingers. “It’s awfully swollen. But the trainers didn’t think it was broken. If it was broken, it would’ve started getting really painful. So I don’t think there’s a problem there.”

An X-ray was negative, according to Suzuki, who said the swelling and soreness got worse as the game went on.

“It’s OK. It’s swollen, but it’s just a little sore,” he said “Just the normal stuff after getting hit.”

Suzuki appeared to struggle with throws back to the mound in the moments after taking the foul tip, but he said that was just part of getting the feeling back in his hand.

Like Desmond, Suzuki at least initially didn’t appear to have long-term problems, but he was worried.

“I don’t really get these all the time,” Suzuki said. “I get bumps and bruises, but anytime you get something with your hand, it’s a different story.”

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